To gradually accustom the Warts to the coming torch light winter adventures, a six pm start was called for. This was also to remind us of next week’s time trial around the Hunter Wreck course which was expected to be run mainly in the dark. This time we were promised a shorter outing than last week’s rather epic Westend adventure so we gathered at the Blackden car park in the as-expected light rain. Being a Wednesday, the rain did get heavier, of course, as the evening progressed.
The Peak District is fortunate in having many features, some suitably obscure, for stringing together to create some sort of a route, however challenging and sometimes eccentric. Rocks, ruined sheepfolds, bridges, cabins ruined or not, stream junctions and trig points are well used for this purpose and tonight was no exception as we visited three such locations plus a rare one not on the list. It appeared that we were initially going to climb the daunting Dean Hill, last visited on the Olympics time trial in the summer. However, we were spared this strenuous climb and instead skirted around it and up to the ruined sheepfold near Jubilee cabin. We then happened to add Madwoman’s Stones (or were they, we’re never quite sure) on the way to Druid’s Stone. There were the hard-core Warts who took the direct line from Madwoman’s to enjoy the mostly path free terrain (knarly) to meet the other Warts who took the path and were happily lounging around waiting for the hard brigade. But who had the moral high ground?
(Editor's note: on reflection, i.e. checking the gps track, we stopped at a track junction some distance NE of Druid's Stone, at an unmapped lump. It made the leg to the trig rougher and longer than expected so all good. Better news is that we had indeed been to Madwoman's Stones).
Paths were also mostly avoided on the way to Blackden trig, the next check point. Here, we could enjoy the extensive paving carried out around the trig to prevent peat erosion which had left the trig high, dry and in danger of toppling over. All very laudable and worthy, (thankyou scout groups) and it provided an opportunity for me to examine this surface more closely. In my excitement at arriving at this unusual feature, I managed to trip over a tussock at the edge of this plaza. Falling down on the moors in the Dark Peak usually means a soft and often boggy landing resulting in a bit of peat therapy and a slight loss of dignity. It was the first time that I had the pleasure of swearing at flagstones as I kissed them hardily. A bit of blood on hands and lip meant a slight delay before leaving for Bob’s Rock, using only a bit of path, standards had to be maintained after all.
The rain had of course become a bit heavier and skiing became the descent mode down through the swamp, heather, bilberry and bracken to Blackden Brook and then up to the car park. The Anglers was the next shout but post run analysis and any further discussion on the proposed Club Championships was thwarted as the pub had closed, at 8.00pm.
Would this be a reasonable excuse to start the Warts’ outings even earlier, so we could arrive before closing time? Or would it be simpler to go to another pub? So much to discuss……………………..!
© Dark Peak Fell Runners 2020
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